Can You Paint Upholstery and Make it Look Good?

Can You Paint Upholstery?

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

I have a confession to make: I’m a DIY addict. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of taking something old and making it new again with just a little elbow grease and some creativity. But when my living room chairs started looking, well, tired and dated, I wasn’t sure what to do. New upholstery was expensive and reupholstering them myself seemed too daunting of a task.

So, I did what any DIY enthusiast would do- I painted them! Yes, you read that right – painted my upholstery! Now before you start thinking this is crazy talk or just plain impossible – hear me out. In this blog post, we’ll explore whether painting upholstery can actually work AND look good (yes it can!), along with tips on how to get the job done right. So come on over to the wild side of DIY with me and let’s dive in together!

Key Takeaways – Can You Paint Upholstery? 💭

  • Painting upholstery is possible and can be a great way to give an old piece of furniture new life.
  • Proper preparation is key to achieving a good result.
  • Choosing the right paint and using a primer are important steps in the process.
  • It’s important to test out the paint on a small area before committing to painting the entire piece.
  • While fabric paint is specifically made for painting upholstery, other types of paints like chalk or latex can also work well as long as they are mixed with a fabric medium.
  • Multiple coats may be necessary to achieve full coverage, and spray paint may also be used for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Clean up any spills or mistakes immediately, and allow proper drying time before use.
  • Overall, with patience and attention to detail, painting upholstery can yield impressive results.
Can You Paint Upholstery

What Is Upholstery?

Upholstery refers to the materials used for padding and covering furniture, such as chairs, sofas, and ottomans. This material can include different types of fabrics like cotton, linen, leather, or synthetic materials.

When it comes to painting upholstery, it’s important to keep in mind that not all fabrics are suitable for this kind of treatment. Some fabrics may not absorb paint well or may become stiff and uncomfortable after painting. It’s best to do research on the specific fabric you plan on painting before starting the process.

Painting upholstery can be a great way to give an old piece of furniture a fresh new look without having to completely reupholster it. However, it is important to use the right tools and techniques in order for the painted upholstery to turn out looking good and last long-term.

In this article, we will go over what you need for painting upholstery including fabric paint options and preparation techniques so that your painted upholstery project turns out looking great!

What You Need For Painting Upholstery

Painting upholstery is a great way to refresh an old piece of furniture without having to go through the trouble of reupholstering. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Upholstery fabric paint: This type of paint is specially formulated for use on fabrics and will provide durable, long-lasting coverage.
  • Paint brushes: You’ll need a variety of brush sizes, including small detail brushes and larger flat brushes.
  • Preparation materials: Before painting your upholstery, you’ll need to prepare both the surface and the fabric paint. This might include sandpaper, cleaners, or other supplies depending on your specific project.

When choosing your upholstery fabric paint, consider factors like color options and application methods. Some popular options include chalk-based paints that can be used with a sprayer or latex-based paints that require brushing.

Once you’ve gathered all your materials, it’s time to start prepping the surface and applying your first coats of paint. Keep in mind that this process may take some time and patience – but with the right tools and techniques, you can transform even the dullest upholstered piece into something fresh and stylish!

Upholstery Fabric Paint

One of the key components of painting upholstery is using the right kind of fabric paint. There are a variety of options available, including spray paint and brush-on paint, as well as different types such as chalk paint or latex paint.

I personally recommend using upholstery fabric paint that is specifically designed for use on fabrics like velvet or suede. This type of paint typically comes in a bottle with a brush applicator or can be sprayed on with an airbrush gun for more even coverage.

When choosing your color, keep in mind that darker colors may require more coats to fully cover the fabric. Additionally, using a medium-to-large-sized brush will help ensure you get full coverage without leaving any streaks or patches.

Overall, I’ve found that using upholstery fabric paint yields the best results when painting furniture pieces like chairs or sofas. Just be sure to clean your surface thoroughly before beginning and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results!

Also See  Can You Paint Ceiling Tiles? Here’s What You Need to Know

Paint Brushes

When it comes to painting upholstery, choosing the right paintbrushes is essential. You’ll want to use high-quality brushes that are designed for use with fabric paint. Look for brushes with synthetic bristles, as these tend to be more durable and resistant to shedding.

Depending on the size of your piece of furniture and the level of detail you want to achieve, you may need a variety of brush sizes. A medium-sized brush should be sufficient for most projects, but having a small brush on hand can be helpful for getting into tight spaces or applying details.

You could also consider using a spray bottle to apply fabric paint instead of traditional brushes. This method can create a smoother finish and reduces the chance of brush strokes showing up on your upholstery. However, keep in mind that this technique requires more skill and experience than using a regular paint brush.

No matter which method you choose, make sure your brushes are kept clean throughout the process by rinsing them regularly with warm water and soap. This will help prevent any stray fibers, wax, or debris from getting stuck in your upholstery paint job.


Before painting upholstery, you’ll need to prepare the surface properly. This will ensure that the paint adheres to the fabric and looks even once it dries.

Start by cleaning the upholstery thoroughly with a damp cloth or vacuum. Any dust or debris left on the fabric can cause bumps and unevenness in your finished piece. Once clean, allow it to dry completely.

Next, if using fabric paint instead of spray paint, prepare it according to the instructions on the bottle. Some fabrics may require a pre-treatment before applying fabric paint for the best results.

It’s also important to choose an appropriate surface for painting. Latex-based paints work well on many fabrics but may not adhere as well to leather or vinyl materials.

Finally, use a medium-sized brush for application, making sure each coat is thin and even before adding another layer. It’s better to apply the first coat of several thin coats than one thick coat which can result in clumps and drips.

By taking these steps before beginning your project, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving a beautifully painted piece of furniture that looks like new!

Preparing the Surface

Before you begin painting your upholstery, it’s important to properly prepare the surface. This step is crucial to ensure that the paint adheres correctly and lasts a long time.

Start by thoroughly cleaning the fabric with mild detergent and water. Remove any dirt, dust, or stains using a clean cloth. Be sure to let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

If there are any loose threads or frayed edges on the upholstery, trim them off with scissors. You want to make sure that the texture of the surface is as smooth and even as possible before starting to paint.

Next, lightly sand down the entire surface using fine-grit sandpaper (around 220 grit). This will help remove any rough spots or imperfections in the fabric and create a smooth fabric with a slightly textured surface for better adhesion of paint.

Finally, use painter’s tape or masking tape to cover any areas that you don’t want painted such as buttons or legs. Make sure that all surfaces are covered evenly without leaving gaps where paint can seep through.

By following these steps for preparing your upholstery before painting it with fabric paint, you’ll be ensuring that your final product has better longevity and looks more professional overall.

Preparing the Fabric Paint

Once you have your upholstery fabric paint, it’s important to prepare it properly before applying it to the piece of furniture. Most fabric paints will require that you mix the paint with a medium or water in order to thin it out and make it more workable. Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully, as different brands may have different requirements.

If you’re using chalk paint for upholstery, be sure to shake up the bottle thoroughly before opening it. Some brands recommend adding water or a special bonding agent to help the paint adhere better to wood and fabrics.

Before applying any fabric paint, make sure your surface is clean and free from dust and debris. You can wipe down your upholstery with a damp cloth or use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to remove any loose dirt or lint.

Finally, test out your fabric paint on a small, inconspicuous area of your piece of furniture first before committing to painting the whole thing. This will give you an idea of how many coats you’ll need and how long each coat will take to dry.

Painting Upholstery

Yes, you can paint upholstery! It’s a great way to give an old piece of furniture a new lease on life. But the real question is, can you make it look good? The answer is yes, with the right tools and techniques.

Also See  Can You Paint Particle Board: All Your Questions Answered

To get started, you’ll need some upholstery fabric paint. There are many different brands and types of fabric paint available, so do your research before purchasing. Some popular brands include Simply Spray Fabric Paint and Tulip Soft Fabric Paint. You’ll also need some paintbrushes in various sizes.

Before painting your upholstery, it’s important to properly prepare both the surface and the fabric paint itself. Start by cleaning the surface thoroughly with soap and water, then let it dry completely. Next, mix your fabric paint with a medium like water or latex to thin it out slightly for better coverage.

When painting your upholstery, be sure to apply multiple coats for even coverage and let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. You can use either a brush or spray bottle depending on what works best for you.

Some tips for getting the best results when painting upholstery include choosing the right color that will work well with your space as well as testing out the paint on a small area first before committing to painting an entire piece of furniture. Additionally, using a primer can help create a more uniform surface for better adhesion of both the fabric and paint.

Overall, while there are definitely some challenges involved in painting upholstered furniture pieces due to different fabrics having specific requirements but if done properly using the right technique and tools could turn out into a beautiful finished product

Finishing Up

Once you have completed all the necessary coats and are happy with the color and finish, it’s time to finish up. Allow the painted upholstery piece to dry completely according to the instructions on your particular paint product. If you’re using fabric paint, this may involve ironing or heat-setting your finished piece.

After your upholstery is fully dry and set, give it a final once-over with a lint roller or brush to remove any loose fibers or debris that may have accumulated during the painting process. Once clean, take a few steps back and admire your handiwork!

While painting upholstery can be a bit of an undertaking, it is definitely possible to achieve great results if you follow these tips for choosing the right paint, preparing surfaces properly, applying multiple coats correctly, and finishing up with care. So go ahead – give new life to any tired furniture pieces in your home!

Cleaning Up

Once you’ve finished painting your upholstery, it’s time to clean up. The good news is that cleaning up after painting fabric should be relatively easy.

If you used a water-based paint, such as latex or fabric paint, all you need to do is wash your brushes and other tools with soap and water. If there are any leftover stains on the surface where you painted the upholstery, use a bottle of water mixed with mild detergent to gently remove them.

If you used spray paint or chalk paint for your project, it’s important to properly dispose of any unused or empty cans. These types of paints can be harmful if they’re not handled properly.

Overall, I found that cleaning up after painting upholstery was a breeze. As long as you take care to properly dispose of any materials and clean your tools thoroughly after use, there shouldn’t be any issues with the process itself.

Tips For Painting Upholstery

Painting upholstery can be a great way to give new life to an old piece of furniture. Here are some tips to ensure that your painted upholstery looks good:

  1. Choose the right paint: There are different types of fabric paints available, including spray and chalk paints. Make sure you choose a paint that is designed for use on fabrics.
  2. Test out the paint: Before painting the entire piece, it’s important to do a small test spot first to make sure the color and finish look good on your upholstery.
  3. Use a primer: Applying a primer before painting will help the paint adhere better and last longer.
  4. Mind the weather: Avoid painting during extremely humid or hot weather, as this can affect how well the paint dries and adheres.
  5. Clean the surface thoroughly: Make sure your surface is clean and free from any dirt or debris before starting to paint.
  6. Apply thin coats of paint: It’s better to apply multiple thin coats than one thick coat, as this will help prevent drips and ensure even coverage.
  7. Use a brush or medium for application: While spray paints may be easier for certain projects, using a brush or medium can provide more control over where the paint goes and ensure better coverage on textured fabrics.

Following these tips should help you achieve great results when painting upholstery!

Choose The Right Paint

When it comes to painting upholstery, choosing the right paint is crucial for a successful result. There are various types of fabric paints available in the market, including spray paints, latex paints, and chalk paints.

Based on our review, the best option for painting upholstery is fabric paint that is specifically designed for this purpose. These paints are formulated to adhere to fabrics and provide a long-lasting finish. You can find them in a range of colors, and they often come in spray bottles or with a brush applicator.

Also See  Can You Paint Over Chipped Paint? What You Need To Know

It’s important to test out the paint on a small, inconspicuous area of the upholstery before applying it to the entire piece. This will help you ensure that the color is right and that the paint adheres properly.

Another important consideration is the type of fabric you will be painting. Some fabrics may require a specific type of paint or application method. For example, if you’re working with a delicate fabric such as silk or velvet, you may want to use a fabric medium to help the paint adhere better.

Overall, when it comes to choosing the right paint for painting upholstery, it’s important to do your research and choose a high-quality, fabric-specific paint that will provide a durable, long-lasting finish.

Test Out The Paint

Before diving into painting your upholstery, it’s a good idea to test out the paint on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first. This will give you an opportunity to see how the paint will look once it’s dry and determine if you like the color and finish.

When testing out the paint, make sure to choose an area that won’t be noticeable if there are any issues with the paint. You can use a small brush or even a spray bottle to apply the paint in this section.

If you’re using chalk or latex-based paints, mix them with some water or medium beforehand as they tend to be thicker than other types of fabric paints. Apply either one coat or two coats of paint and allow them to dry completely before assessing whether you’re satisfied with how they look.

I found that most fabrics take well to painting but have also reviewed many products where painted surfaces still don’t feel soft enough for heavily used furniture pieces. So keep this in mind while making your decision.

Overall, testing out your chosen fabric paint is crucial before starting any project involving upholstery paint. It lets you get familiarized with what may happen when painting your furniture piece; thus saving time and ensuring success!

Use A Primer

Before you start painting your upholstery, it’s important to use a primer. A primer helps the paint adhere to the fabric and ensures better coverage. It also helps prevent any bleeding of the original color through the new paint.

When choosing a primer, make sure it is compatible with your chosen fabric paint. Some fabric paints have their own primers that work best with them.

To apply the primer, use a brush or spray bottle depending on what works best for you. Apply a light coat first and let it dry completely before applying another coat. You’ll usually need at least two coats for good coverage.

After applying the final coat of primer, wait for at least 24 hours before starting to paint with fabric paint on top of it. This will ensure that the primer has fully cured and dried.

Overall, using a primer is an essential step when painting upholstery as it can make all the difference in how well your new color adheres and lasts on your piece of furniture.

Mind The Weather

When it comes to painting upholstery, you’ll want to pay close attention to the weather. High humidity or extreme temperatures can affect how well the paint adheres to the fabric. Ideally, you should paint in a cool, dry area with good ventilation.

If you’re planning on using spray fabric paint, make sure that the air temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, avoid painting in direct sunlight or on a windy day as this can cause uneven spraying or dust particles to stick to your paint fabric furniture piece.

For those using chalk-based paints or latex-based paints mixed with a medium for fabrics, be sure that the surface of your chair or sofa is completely dry before starting. If it’s even slightly damp outside, wait for a drier day where there’s minimal chance of moisture seeping into your freshly painted upholstery.

In short: Make sure that you have ideal temperature conditions and proper ventilation when painting any type of upholstery. Doing so will help ensure even drying and better color retention over time!


While it is possible to paint upholstery and make it look good, there are some important factors to consider before diving into this project. Choosing the right type of fabric paint, preparing the surface properly, and applying multiple coats in a consistent manner are all crucial for achieving a desirable outcome. Additionally, testing out the paint on a small area first can help you avoid any potential mishaps.

Overall, painting upholstery can be a fun DIY project that allows you to give new life to an old furniture piece. With the right tools and techniques, anyone can transform their worn-out chair or sofa into something fresh and exciting. Just remember to take your time and follow these steps carefully for the best results.

Latest posts